Dear Parish Community of Most Precious Blood,
From the very first announcement of my assignment to this parish I have received a warm welcome. This is a sign of an open, vibrant and loving community which is a sign of hope to me.
Just as you are grieving the loss of your beloved pastor, so too, am I grieving the loss of my first love: my first parish of St. John the Baptist. When we priests are ordained to the ministerial priesthood we make a promise of obedience to our bishops. It was Archbishop Chaput that brought in Fr. Pat and the many blessings that came with him and now, Archbishop Aquila brings me to you and you to me. I pray to receive these blessings worthily and well. I pray to fall in love with you as I fell in love with my previous parish.
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 I want to thank God for the gift of my ministerial priesthood through which he has worked powerfully in my life and in the lives of others. To Him be the glory!
It may come as no surprise to you that the Church recognizes your own priestly dignity as a community of the baptized. Your baptismal priesthood and my ministerial priesthood exist in service to each other, and are (from the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, paragraph 10:)
Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree,
the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or
hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in
its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ.
The ministerial priest…makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers
it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their
royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise
exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and
thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.
Your own baptismal priesthood supports my ministerial priesthood and, I pray, vice versa. The two are interdependent until the Second Coming of our Lord.
I look forward to meeting you, getting to know you and loving you. You will be a gift to me and I pray that I can return the favor.
With fatherly affection,
-Fr. Daniel Ciucci